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Who is telling the truth? Beaches Resort denies cancelling mediation meeting; time for TRANSPARENCY

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – November 3, 2020 — “Beaches did not cancel the mediation,” informed Beaches Resort in a statement issued to Magnetic Media just moments ago.  This latest media comment comes about 24 hours after local newspaper, TCI Sun published that Sharlene Robinson,  Turks and Caicos Premier and Finance Minister said the resort cancelled the November 18, 2020 mediation meeting.

Beaches has countered that it remains ready to negotiate in the near five-year old tax dispute.

“Beaches has always been and remains ready, willing and able to resolve this matter in a fair, equitable and transparent manner.  The tax matters and the breaches of Beaches Development Agreement, can be resolved in a day or two. This can be achieved only if there is a strong commitment, sincerity, good faith and capable decision makers sitting down together.  Our team continues to stand ready.”

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The volley of highly charged comments in the multi-million dollar row has played out in the public domain and has polorised people on the matter. 

Beaches Resort wants the mediation to begin now and suggests the process can be concluded before November 18.  November 18 is the day the resort, which employs nearly 2,000 people and which accounts for 70 percent of the country’s long stay visitors has set as its reopening amidst the coronavirus pandemic.  November 18 is also the day the TCI Government has said it would meet with the mediator in the Beaches Resort legal matter.

Now, the resort is calling on the TCI government to show the public a set of confidential communication.

“…since the TCIG now seems to have no issues speaking to the press, then it should let the people of the TCI and Beaches employees know the truth about the mediation. Let’s have full disclosure. We call on the TCIG to publish the letter dated October 29, 2020 which was sent to Beaches and which TCIG  wished to be treated as confidential, and to then also publish Beaches’ response.  Beaches consents to the publication of its letter.  Let the citizens decide for themselves.

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Let the people of the TCI know about Freedom of the Press unless TCIG wishes to take away their constitutional right.”

A second-time-around headline by the Turks and Caicos Weekly News ignited a firestorm of demands and comments.  A $76 million dollar possible tax write off made the news in 2019 when legislation and an amnesty related to the Hotel & Tourism Tax Ordinance was being debated. 

At that time, there was admission that the monies had accumulated as a result of government penalty charges.  House of Assembly members including three former finance ministers, namely:  Washington Misick, Royal Robinson and Derek Taylor supported ‘writing-off’ the accrued penalties. 

Beaches Turks and Caicos, the family all-inclusive brand owned by Sandals Resorts International explains, they were unaware of this news focus in2019,which again made news headlines over the weekend.

“Beaches also wishes to make it clear that is has never received a copy of any audit report and the first time Beaches knew of an alleged $76M tax write off was in the press.”

There was also this caution from Sandals Resorts executives, as this issue has become prime material as the Turks and Caicos inches closer to a general election.

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“Let us however be very clear.  Beaches will not allow its brand to be used for political propaganda or as a political football.  Beaches has no interest in playing politics. Our concern is for our team members and the citizens of the TCI.”

UPDATED & CORRECTED: The Attorney General, RhondaLee Braithwaite-Knowles informs late today she is in Turks and Caicos; though her automatic e-mail reply had previously informed that she was out of office, not necessarily out of the country, until November 9.  Earlier we reported that the AG was out of the country.

Magnetic Media, was in response to our questions about the mediation meeting, redirected by AG Braithwaite-Knowles to the Office of the Premier.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

TCI News

GOVERNMENT CONDEMNS SICK OUT ACTION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS (March 1st, 2024): The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) assure the travelling public that all measures are being implemented to mitigate the sick out action by Air Traffic Controllers at the Howard Hamilton International Airport.

All agencies – The Office of the Governor, The Office of the Premier, The TCIAA, The Turks and Caicos Royal Police Force, Experience Turks and Caicos – are working together to ensure that our travellers are not inconvenienced.

Our law enforcement partners, the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force have affirmed their commitment to ensure the safety and security of travellers, airport personnel and the TCI community amidst the challenges posed by the action of the Air Traffic Controllers and are working with all partners to ensure safety.

All travellers are advised to check with their relevant airlines for any possible delays.

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TCI News

Industrial Action at TCI Airport

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Hon. Edwin A. Astwood
Leader of the Opposition

 

The leadership of the People’s Democratic Movement is currently monitoring the ongoing industrial action at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, our nation’s primary gateway. It is disheartening to know that our workers’ job dissatisfactions, in particular the Air Traffic controllers, have reached a point where they saw that it was in their best interest to take this stance here today.

The PDM believes in being proactive rather than reactive, and that discussions to ensure the workers’ satisfaction at the Howard Hamilton International Airport, should be ongoing, and discrepancies and complaints should be addressed at their earliest time to minimize dissatisfaction.

Delays at the airport are not good for anyone: not good for our people who have to travel to and from our family islands, not good for persons traveling to seek medical attention, not good for visitors leaving to return home, not good for visitors who have chosen the Turks & Caicos Islands and have the choice to cancel and go to another destination to go on vacation, not good for the taxi/tour operators and our people working in the tourism industry, and not good for the image of the country.

This also underscores the critical need to engage the International Labor Organization (ILO) to conduct a thorough assessment of our outdated labor laws. This review must encompass both the public and private sectors to safeguard against any exploitation, mistreatment, or under-compensating of workers in our country,

The People’s Democratic Movement is dedicated to this cause and is committed to formally engaging the ILO to conduct a comprehensive review of our labor laws within the first 30-60 days of assuming Office as the new government of these islands. Additionally, we stand steadfast in implementing any recommendations for improving employee well-being, job satisfaction, and productivity, while also providing the environment for business long-term success.

By adopting a comprehensive approach that considers the needs of both the workers and the businesses, the Peoples’ Democratic Movement believes that our country can create a balanced regulatory framework that supports economic growth, protects workers’ rights, and fosters a fair and sustainable work environment for all stakeholders.

The PDM is the ANSWER…

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TCI News

JOINT STATEMENT FROM HER EXCELLENCY THE ACTING GOVERNOR AND THE HONOURABLE PREMIER ON THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STRIKE AT THE HOWARD HAMILTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos 1 March 2024 – The Acting Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams and Premier Hon. Charles Washington Misick can confirm that industrial action in the form of an apparent sick out is currently being taken by a number of Air traffic Controllers (ATC) at the Howard Hamilton International Airport on Providenciales and the JAGS McCartney International Airport on Grand Turk regarding issues of pay and working conditions.

 

The Acting Governor and Premier met earlier today with the Executive Chair, CEO, and senior leadership of the TCIAA.  Following on from this a meeting was held with the Chairman of the TCI Air Traffic Controllers Association; a further meeting is planned with the Air Traffic Controllers later today to discuss their return to work.

 

The Air Traffic controllers in 2022 received two separate pay increases totaling 31%.

 

In addition to this, the Government following the implementation of the Public Service Pay and Grading Review in December 2023, committed to a comprehensive review of the pay and benefits of all statutory bodies which led by PGR Consultants Erst and Young (Jamaica) is due to commence in March 2024 and should not exceed four months.

 

Acting Governor stated: “The safe and efficient operation of our airports is critical to ourislands both from an economic and a national security perspective. All stakeholders have been engaged to ensure all contingencies in place. 

 

We are working with TCIAA officials to ensure that there a minimal disruption to incoming and outgoing flights and are engaging with ATC officers to discuss and agree their return to work.”

 

Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick stated: “I am collaborating with TCIAA and all stakeholders to restore smooth operations at the Howard Hamilton International Airport. My government and I are in frequent communication with all stakeholders, domestically and internationally, as the situation unfolds.

 

The safety of all travellers is our top priority, both domestically and internationally, and we will do our best to avoid any disruptions to anyone’s travel plans.”

 

The Honorable Arlington Musgrove, Minister for Immigration and Border Services has been engaged throughout the morning on this matter and is currently en route to the TCI following his attendance at the Forty-Sixth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), so that he can attend the planned meeting later today with the Air Traffic Controller Association, the Acting Governor, Premier and TCIAA leadership. 

 

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